Van Wyk: Milestone just the cherry on top

Van Wyk: Milestone just the cherry on top
Janine Van Wyk of South Africa takes a bow for the Last Time during the 2024 WAFCON Qualifier match between South Africa and Burkina Faso at Lucas Moripe Stadium 6 in Atteridgeville on the 04 December 2023 © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Tuesday Dec 05, 2023. 13:00

Janine van Wyk bowed out of international football in style after becoming Africa’s most capped player in her final game for Banyana Banyana on Monday as they qualified for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The 36-year-old defender made her 185th appearance for South Africa in their 2-0 victory over Burkina Faso at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, surpassing the record held by Ahmed Hassan of Egypt.

Second-half goals from Linda Motlhalo (56′ PEN) and Nicole Michael (86′) secured a 3-1 aggregate win for Desiree Ellis’ side in the second qualifying round to book their place at the continental showpiece in Morocco.

Van Wyk praised her team-mates for getting the job done on Ellis’ 100th match in charge of the national team and admitted reaching the milestone was the cherry on top of a career spanning 18 years.

“Today (Monday) would not have been a joyful one without a win and qualifying for another WAFCON. It was not about me, yes, we celebrated the 185 caps, but we had a very important match to play,” she said the post-match press conference.

“So, congratulations to the team and I wish them well for another WAFCON to defend the title for us. But overall, this has been just a cherry on top of the cake of a lengthy career for me.

“Great performance for me reaching this milestone and what better way to do it than with a national team at home.

“It has been a long journey with Banyana. There have been many ups and downs, but these are the kind of moments that one strives for to achieve each and every dream. Just reaching this last one means a lot to me.”

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